The importance and benefits of training
Training is extremely important and should form an integral part of all elite athlete’s daily routines.
Sport allows the body to gradually build up strength and endurance, improve skill levels and build motivation, ambition and confidence.
Training also allows athletes to gain more knowledge of their sport as well as enabling them to learn about the importance of having a healthy mind and body.
In terms of physical effects of training, regular exercise increases muscle tone, facilitates good circulation, improves strength, agility and flexibility and improves the rate of waste product disposal.
Regular training also speeds up recovery time following physical exercise; this enables the body to cope with the demands of training more effectively and makes it more resistant to injury and illness. Training also has benefits for mental health as it improves concentration and increases self-esteem.
After your 40’s:
- Skin loses its elasticity and becomes drier as oil glands slow their production. Fingernails grow more slowly.
- Hair thins, and there’s more gray hair as pigment cells are reduced.
- Compression of joints, including spinal discs, causes a loss of height. By age 80, the loss of 2 inches is common.
- Somewhere around age 55, high-frequency sounds start becoming harder to hear.
- By age 50, most people need reading glasses as the eyes’ lenses become less flexible, impairing the ability to focus on anything close up.
- Changes occur in the menstrual cycle before it ceases.
- Sleep time basically becomes shorter, and the quality of sleep decreases. Waking often during the night is common.
- Bone minerals are lost, resulting in more bone’s fragility.
- The basal metabolic rate slows down, often resulting in weight gain—mostly fat.
Additionally, and sadly, the chances of contracting ailments such as osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia increase.
There’s a caveat, however. What we know of all these depressing changes has been based on studies of normal aging people.
By “normal” I mean people who are generally representative of our society—many of whom are sedentary, overweight, and unmotivated. If you are active and vigorous, you aren’t normal—and that’s good.
As an aging athlete, you are still experiencing some markers of aging, but from a smaller subset of symptoms. Nearly all exercise physiology research has found that you can expect certain performance-diminishing changes with advancing age.
The symptoms of aging that concern athletes include:
- Aerobic capacity (VO2 max) declines.
- Maximal heart rate is reduced.
- The volume of blood pumped with each heartbeat decreases.
- Muscle fibers are lost, resulting in decreased muscle mass and less strength.
- Aerobic enzymes in the muscles become less effective and abundant.
- Blood volume is reduced.
These are the symptoms we need to reverse or at least minimize in our training and lifestyle.
You already know that sports are beneficial for your physical health. But there’s more good news. In recent years, research has also found that sport participation can positively affect your mental health. Here’s how.
Sports improve your mood
Whether you are playing sports, working out at a gym, or taking a brisk walk, physical activity triggers brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. Team sports in particular not only provides a chance to unwind and engage in a satisfying challenge that improves your fitness, but they also provide social benefits by allowing you to connect with teammates and friends in a recreational setting.
Sports improve your concentration
Regular physical activity helps keep your key mental skills sharp as you age. This includes critical thinking, learning, and using good judgment.
Sports reduce depression and stress
When you are physically active, your mind is distracted from daily stressors what can help you avoid getting bogged down by negative thoughts. Exercise not only reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body but also stimulates production of endorphins. These are natural mood lifters that can keep stress and depression at bay.
Sports improve sleep habits
Sports and other forms of physical activity improve the quality of sleep. They do this by helping you fall asleep faster and deepening your sleep. Sleeping better also improve your mental outlook and your mood.
Sports help you maintain a healthy weight
Individual sports, such as running, cycling, and weightlifting, are all particularly effective ways to burn calories and/or build muscle. Staying within a recommended weight range reduces the likelihood of developing diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension.
Sports boost your self-confidence
The regular exercise that comes with playing sports can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. As your strength, skills, and stamina increase through playing sports, your self-image will improve as well. With the renewed vigor and energy that comes from physical activity, you may be more likely to succeed in tasks off the playing field as well as on it.